No room to upgrade from ESX3 to ESX4 vSphere. Time to Repartition!

imageI was recently upgrading an ESX host from ESX3.5 to vSphere when I ran into an interesting issue.  The server was built with 36GB local drives that utilized the available space to  the fullest with the partition scheme. (Basically the 3 large partitions were 10GB /, 10GB /var & 10GB /tmp.  We were using iSCSI on these servers and leveraging the software initiator within ESX.  The plan was to leverage Update Manager to push the updates and do the in place upgrade keeping all of the iSCSI mappings intact.  So far, so good.  We pushed forward on the first ESX and Update Manager spit up an error.  NOT ENOUGH SPACE on the local VMFS.  Local VMFS? I didn’t even have one! 🙂
For the in place upgrade, Update Manager required 8GB free space on the local VMFS drive.  A quick and easy solution was to wipe out the /tmp partition and create a new temporary VMFS partition for the upgrade. 
Check out the steps below :

  1. the first step was to edit /etc/fstab file.  Using your favorite editor (vi, nano, whatever), Comment out /tmp line.
  2. REBOOT the ESX server.  Since we have made the modification tot he fstab, VMware will create the /tmp under the / partition freeing up the 10GB previously used by the /tmp partition.
  3. use df –lk to determine the devices currently in use.
  4. using fdisk, delete the old /tmp partition. (commands d, then partition #, then w)
  5. Now that the partition space has been deleted, return to the VI client and format the unassigned space as VMFS as normal.

Resubmit the upgrade task and Update Manager will now see the required space to complete the upgrade. Crisis averted! 🙂